social change | November 19, 2012

Dr. Richard Heinzl: Technology is Transforming Humanitarianism [VIDEO]

We recently had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Richard Heinzl, founder of the first North American chapter of Doctors Without Borders, about innovation, technology, and how the two make for better philanthropy. The digitization of medical information helps to provide far more accurate diagnosis in remote regions where, before technology was as ubiquitous as it is today, Dr. Heinzl reminds us that volunteer doctors were forced to rely upon the textbooks they could carry in their backpacks.

Back then, Heinzl reminisces, visiting doctors in isolated areas could only dream of having the unlimited access to information that we now enjoy. "I used to be stuck in places where, literally, 1, 2, 3 months would go by where I couldn't make a phone call, I'd be that isolated—no one could in the town." Today, with the proliferation of communications technology, Doctors Without Borders can provide far better care, and communities are often helping themselves by becoming connected and getting online. Access to information, technological innovation, and social development are merging to provide a meaningful point of departure to help those in need, and make the world a better place.